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Tue 3 Mar 2009 01:50 PM

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Developer to retrain engineers in customer roles

Abu Dhabi's Sorouh Real Estate says 'right skilling' will prevent redundancies.

Abu Dhabi-based Sorouh Real Estate has revealed it is planning to retrain its engineers to work in customer service roles, in a bid to prevent redundancies amid a slowdown in the real estate sector.

Chief property development officer, Gurjit Singh, said on Tuesday the initiative termed “right skilling” was necessary as the company turned its focus from investors to end-users.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Economic Forum he said: “It is about right skilling of the workforce, so people formerly involved in engineering may now be right skilled to work with customers, in terms of their demands and their fears.”

The company, the second largest property developer in Abu Dhabi, needed to be able to respond to customer service needs such as matching people with the right with mortgage supplier, he added.

The move aimed to prevent job losses as demand for developments slowed, Singh said.

“The industry as it stands is very challenged in terms of sales, but redundancies are only considered when, and if, we are unable to right skill them to other parts of the business,” he said.

It was time for developers to start concentrating on small projects with very clear target markets, Singh added.

In January Singh told Arabian Business that the company was reviewing all its new developments but added that there would be no delays on current projects.

Gurjit, who oversees a $19bn portfolio in the UAE and abroad, said: “The projects we haven’t launched yet will be more meticulously and better planned, they will have a sharper focus on cost management.”

Hal-Luke 10 years ago

Actually, the process mentioned above is called 'Multi Skilling' and not 'Right Skilling'.. given that Engineers are methodical people, they can easily adapt methodical approach of engineering to structured approach of custoemr care. The only problem is boring the daylight out of engineers if not done correctly.. Consequently, don't tell engineers that this is change of direction but tell them it is the next stage in their development. At the end of the day you can either make or break an engineer but you can not change their ways and means. So, treat them like energy, you can convert them but not change them. Converted engineer will treat your customers like re-bars, not like anchor bolts! Hal-Luke Savas MBA FCIM MBIFM ICIOB aff.CIBSE

PeoplePerson 10 years ago

This financial crisis, like past crises will slowly but surely come to an end. The kind of modus operandi companies adopt during this time will undoubtedly play critical roles in setting their reputations in the future. Measures such as these would definitely score high employer-of-choice-points for Sorouh. Well done.

NigelB 10 years ago

As a Training and Development specialist I must applaud Mr. Singh and Sorouh on their forward thinking with this initiative. Too many companies are slashing training to cut costs when they should be developing the skills of a reduced workforce in order to work leaner and fitter! It is companies with the vision, like Surough, that will emerge from the current downturn far stronger than their competitors. Good luck Mr. Singh & Surouh!

augs 10 years ago

Companies who lay off people forgot the very essence why they exist, it is not only to build a great country but make human civilization more meaningful. Today, money is more important than the human lives.